A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Halloween is a direct sequel to the iconic same-named 1978 slasher film that ignores every other sequel and reboot (all nine of them). Survivor Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), now a grandmother, has been single-mindedly preparing herself for the day that masked killer Michael Myers would come for her again. Spoiler alert: He does. Expect graphic, very gory slasher violence and strong language ("f--k," "s--t," etc.) throughout the movie. The brutal killings include stabbings, slashings, impalings, beheadings, bludgeonings, and more. There's also brief nudity, teen sexuality, and some drinking/drug use by both adults and teens. The movie is directed by indie star David Gordon Green and co-written by Green and Danny McBride. Will Patton and Judy Greer co-star.
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What's the story?
Exactly 40 years after the massacre depicted in 1978's Halloween, killer Michael Myers (Nick Castle/James Jude Courtney) continues his silent incarceration. And survivor Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) continues her single-minded preparation for his return. Laurie's estranged daughter, Karen (Judy Greer), thinks she's crazy. Laurie's granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak), wants to reconcile the family rift but has her own teen problems. And Michael is finally ready to let his blade (and hammer, and poker, and whatever) speak. Happy HALLOWEEN!
Is it any good?
Though it doesn't quite recapture that 1978 lightning in a bottle, this sequel is, in just about every way, the best made of the series. This Halloween is true to what made the original so memorable, while simultaneously representing a massive filmmaking upgrade. Director David Gordon Green creates creepy tension with camera angles and blurry figures casually moving through backgrounds. Characters and relationships have actually been considered. And, wisely, franchise entries number two through nine have been discarded, while the ending of the original has been tweaked so that Michael was captured. Curtis' Laurie, 40 years later, is a self-medicating PTSD sufferer. But instead of going into a catatonic shell, she's honed a rock-hard one, undergoing a more realistic Sarah Connor-like transformation to become a survivalist who never stops looking over her shoulder.
As co-written by frequent collaborators Green and Danny McBride, Halloween is rife with sly references to the franchise and meta touches (such as a kid telling his beloved babysitter not to go upstairs to see if there's a killer there: "Send Dave up first!"). Fans will appreciate the well-placed shot references to the original. Michael is actually played by the 1978 actor (and a stuntman). Inescapable '80s crush P.J. Soles, who met a grisly end in the original, has a cameo. Make no mistake, though: This film is straight-up horror, and its violence is extreme. But this Michael, though improbably stealthy, isn't the unkillable demon of the sequels. He gets hurt, he can be slowed, and intelligence can work effectively against him. And, in perhaps the film's most significant break from tradition, the female characters -- while menaced by a male stalker -- are the smartest and strongest ones in the film. It's creepy, tense, fun; violent as hell; and downright feminist. This alternate-universe-sequel Halloween takes its place among the more respectable entries of the slasher genre.
Talk to your kids about ...
The movie's female characters are the objects of pursuit by a stalking killer, but they're also the smartest and emotionally strongest characters in the film. Is Halloween feminist?
This movie "retcons" (makes adjustments to retroactively justify continuity) all of the previous Halloween movies, including the original. You've heard of reboots, sequels, and re-imaginings ... which is this? Does it work? Why do you think they broke so boldly with the other films?
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